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The Institute of Nutritional Science (IEW) at the University of Potsdam (UP) was opened on 6.7.1994 as an institute of the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences together with 15 other institutes. The evaluation commission of the German Science Council endorsed the founding of the institute at Potsdam-Rehbrücke, where world-renowned nutritional research has been conducted since 1946, with four professorships: Food Chemistry, Physiology and Pathophysiology of Nutrition, Nutritional Toxicology, and Biochemistry of Nutrition. The first director of the institute was Jürgen Kroll, who also held the professorship of food chemistry at the University of Potsdam. Previously, Kroll served as Commissioner of the University of Potsdam for the study course "Nutritional Science", which had already been set up as a diploma course in the winter semester of 1992/93. In the conception and design of the study program, the results of a long-term research in the field of food and nutrition were introduced, because the University of Potsdam appointed professors of the German Institute of Human Nutrition (DIfE), which emerged from the Central Institute of Nutrition at the same location, were involved in teaching. The following work areas were covered: general nutritional science and epidemiology, energy metabolism, nutritional medicine, gastrointestinal microecology, molecular genetics, molecular toxicology, vitamin metabolism. The core content of the study course was a sound education in basic science as well as the imparting of knowledge in applied medical questions and competencies in a work-oriented environment. In the course of the implementation of the "Bologna" –process, the diploma course was reformed to "Nutritional Science" at the University of Potsdam and continued from the winter semester 2005/2006 as a modular bachelor / master program "Nutritional Science".

As of October 1996, the expansion and modernization of the IEW offered laboratory and office space for the appointment of the following professors: Florian Schweigert (Physiology and Pathophysiology of Nutrition, November 1996), Pablo Steinberg (Nutrition Toxicology, October 1998), Gerhard Püschel (Biochemistry of Nutrition, September 1999). The IEW's last phase of expansion was achieved when an additional laboratory and office space could be set up at the same location as internship and departmental laboratories (2007-08).

The IEW experienced extensions or structural changes in the course of its existence. For the field of "food chemistry" new appointments were required. The first owner of the chair, Jürgen Kroll, headed the chair until his retirement (March 2005). As successor Sabine Kulling joined the professorship. Because she was appointed to the Max Rubner Institute in Karlsruhe as head of the Institute for Safety and Quality in Fruits and Vegetables, Kulling left the University of Potsdam on 1.12.2009. Harshadrai Ravel took over the chair representation until reoccupation. He held the acting direction for four years. Starting from 1.10.2013, Tanja Schwerdtle is holder of the chair.

The subject "Nutritional Toxicology" was also re-staffed after the chair holder, Pablo Steinberg, had accepted a call as the head of the Institute of Food Toxicology and Chemical Analysis of the University of Veterinary Medicine Hanover from April 2008. Starting from October 1, 2009, this chair is represented by Burkhard Kleuser. Additional professorships extended the teaching and training opportunities at the IEW. From April 2010 to March 2015, the "Experimental Nutritional Medicine" was run as a professorship and led by Berthold Hocher. For the subject "food chemical analysis of secondary plant constituents", a junior professorship was established and filled with Susanne Baldermann (from 2012). Harshadrai M. Ravel (2010) received an unscheduled professorship for "Instrumental Analysis in Nutrition Science" and Jens Raila (2015) for "Animal Welfare and Metabolic Physiology".